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Call to scrap changes in continence funding

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The government has come under renewed pressure to scrap its planned funding changes for specialist continence and stoma appliances.

Nurses, patients and trade groups have all called on the government to abandon its plans to revise funding for stoma and continence appliances. A third consultation on proposals ended in December, with no decision.

Health minister Dawn Primarolo revealed the consultations have cost £2.5m to date following a written question last month from Mike Penning, Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead.

The British Healthcare Trades Association, which represents manufacturers of the products, met with Ms Primarolo last week to call for a halt in consultations. Graham Collyer, the association’s president, said: ‘From the outset this consultation has been seriously flawed as it was published without an assessment of the impact it would have on patient care.’

Ian Pomfret, continence adviser at Central Lancashire PCT, said the proposals would mean the loss of specialist nurses paid by companies to fit the appliances. ‘My concern has been the loss of appliance practitioners – that will be an extra cost to the NHS,’ he said. ‘Somebody is going to have to fit the appliances and if companies are not providing it, then the NHS will have to pay for it. It is a false economy.’

Last year NT ran a campaign urging the government to listen to nurses’ views on the plans.

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